CERES RIVER BLUFF REGIONAL PARK
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The Ceres River Bluff Regional Park is one of the most unique parks in Northern California. The park is 76 acres and features 38 acres of sports fields. The Master Plan includes 5 dedicated soccer fields, 2 softball fields, outdoor basketball court, outdoor volleyball court, playground equipment, concession stands, restrooms, and an observation deck overlooking the 38 acres of the lower terrace. The lower terrace is in the 100 year flood plain and will be restored to its natural environment with biking and hiking trails.

Field Closure Hotline Number (209) 538-5700

Park Address:
3761 E. Hatch Rd.
Ceres CA, 95307

Draft Master Plan
Upper Terrace – 38 Acres
Sport Facilities
Six (6) Soccer Fields
Two (2) Softball Fields
One (1) Basketball Court
Two (2) Volleyball Courts
Other Amenities Group Picnic Area
Children’s Play Area
Snack Bar
Restrooms
Lower Terrance Bike/Hiking Trails
Boat Launch
Valley Oaks & Native Bushes
Picnic Tables
Ceres River Bluff Regional Park Master Plan graphic
Click on graphic for larger view.

Park Land Purchase
The City of Ceres purchased 76 acres of land in November 7, 2000 for $1,050,000 to develop a regional park. Almost half of the land purchase price ($500,000) came from a grant received from the California Department of Transportation - Transportation Enhancement Activities (TEA) funds.

Park Overview Park Overview

Project and Planning Process
In March of 2002, the newly created Ceres Parks, Recreation and Facilities Department hired the Beal's Alliance architectural firm to work with city staff and the community to design a master plan and conduct an environmental review. City staff invited youth sports leagues representatives, service clubs, governmental agencies and the general public to participate on the Ceres Regional Park Task Force. Publicity regarding the formation of the Task Force was advertised in the local newspapers, radio, area television stations and on the City of Ceres web site. Twenty-five citizens volunteered and were instrumental in the design of the park master plan over a 12-month period. The process literally started with a 2'X3' blank poster board. Through an extensive brainstorming procedure, hundreds of ideas were discussed. After 6 public input meetings, the official park master plan was approved by the Ceres Planning Commission and subsequently the Ceres City Council. The citizens vocalized the desire for a regional park that would focus primarily on sports fields but also have passive features for the general public to enjoy.

Concession Stand Concession Stand

Design Process
The unique Ceres River Bluff Regional Park master plan includes 38 acres on the upper terrace. The upper terrace will provide many exceptional recreational experiences with 5 dedicated soccer fields, 2 dedicated softball fields, outdoor basketball court, outdoor volleyball court, playground equipment, interactive water feature, concession stands, group picnic area, restrooms and an observation deck overlooking the 38 acres of the lower terrace. The lower terrace is in the 100 year flood plain and will be restored to its nature environment, in an effort to protect our natural resources. The community wanted to see a combination of active and passive areas within the same park. The lower terrace is essentially "open space" in a relaxing environment. The design will include the creation of a wetlands utilizing rainfall and storm drainage water. Valley Oak and Cottonwood trees will be planted, along with many native plants and grasses. A road and hiking trail will connect the formal upper terrace to the natural lower terrace that descends approximately 40 feet. The Ceres Unified School District teachers are looking forward to conducting field trips to study the native habitat. This park will also allow public access to the Tuolumne River for canoeing, kayaking, rafting and fishing. Previously, there were no safe public access points for Ceres residents.

This is an ambitious park plan for a relatively small city like Ceres with a population of less than 40,000. The project cost of the 76 acre sports park will be 9 million dollars. Therefore, the Community Task Force with guidance from the architect and city staff has created a 5 phase construction schedule. The first phase includes the main entrance, large signage, corporation yard, irrigation system, 110 parking spaces and 2 full size soccer fields. The construction costs of Phase I were approximately 2 million dollars with the most of the funds derived from Proposition 12 and 40. Two service clubs also donated $27,000 to support construction of the soccer fields. The City of Ceres held a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 11, 2004 in conjunction with the opening day of Ceres Youth Soccer. The 1,100 youth soccer players were thrilled with the design of the fields and the opportunity to finally play on quality, city owned sports fields. Phase II of the park will include 3 additional soccer fields, concession stands, rest rooms and 250 more lighted parking spaces. Recently, the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors approved a $450,000 donation to the City of Ceres for construction of Phase II. Phase III will allow for construction of 2 softball fields, basketball courts, volleyball courts, children's playground and picnic area. Phase IV will be the development of the 38 acres of the lower terrace and Phase V will be the lighting of the soccer fields.

Lower Overview Lower Overview

Operation and Maintenance
Many cities, including Ceres, have funds to construct sports facilities. The real challenge is how to properly maintain the fields once they are constructed. We came up with some resourceful ideas to help pay for operations and maintenance of this regional park. The City of Ceres rezoned 2.5 acres of the park for commercial use. We plan on leasing that land to an enterprise that will compliment the park. All the funds collected from the lease of that land will be used on an ongoing basis to help pay for operations and maintenance of the park. After conferring with several turf experts, we decided to plant hybrid Bermuda grass. The roots can eventually grow 12 feet deep and use less water, especially during the hot summer months in the Central Valley of California. We also entered into an agreement with our Ceres Youth Soccer Organization that stipulates they will line all 5 soccer fields on a year round basis. The soccer organization will pay a reasonable rental fee for use of the fields for league games and tournaments. Additionally, they will obtain fertilizer for the soccer fields so the parks employees can apply it and maintain healthy turf and root structure.

We want this park to be safe and secure for all citizens. Therefore, we will be purchasing a camera surveillance system with a total of 4 pan, zoom and tilt cameras. The monitors will be placed in the public safety dispatch room with additional monitors for the Parks Supervisor and Director Recreation. The public will also be able to review the park action on the City's website.

Support the Mission of Parks and Recreation
FFor years the citizens have complained about a lack of quality soccer fields in the Ceres. City staff worked with the public to develop a master plan that would ultimately facilitate a solution to the lack of sports fields. A citizens Task Force was created that provided excellent ideas for the park and fostered human development. The Task Force members learned about the environmental review process and city, state and federal policies and guidelines. The Task Force was well represented with Hispanics and other ethnic groups that came together in an encouraging environment, to design many creative amenities in the sports park. This 2 year design and construction process has "opened the doors to local government" and strengthen our community image and sense of place. This unique regional park will create many new recreational experiences for our youth, adult and senior population. Some citizens will enjoy the active portions of the park, promoting their physical health. Others will find a sense of serenely in the passive areas of the park. The security camera system will be of tremendous value in monitoring the park to help keep it safe and secure for the general public. The 38 acres in the lower park terrace will be restored back to its natural habitat in an effort to protect our environmental resources. Many regional, state and national soccer tournaments will be hosted at our regional park, thereby stimulating economic development for our local businesses. Without question, the benefits of the new Ceres River Bluff Regional Park are endless.

Kids Playing Soccer Kids Playing Soccer

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